I first got the notion that Iwanted to be a writer when Iwas disgusted with PR from my internship with Eco Challenge at USC. Yep, *the* Eco Challenge that is now famous and the same one where handsome Brit Mark Burnett is high on the hog from Survivor success. I don’t remember the guy’s name who worked for Mark, but I hated the way he seemed fake on the phone in order to get what he wanted. Or was he just like that naturally? Hearing “Hey Cowboy, let’s do lunch,” one too many times, I decided I wanted to be on the other end of the pitch.

On a visit to San Francisco with my college boyfriend, I found Natalie Goldberg’s book, Wild Mind. I read it slowly, carefully and with much curiousity as a little voice inside me whispered, “I want to be a writer.”

My college boyfriend’s mom owned an SF bookstore and knew several authors. She told me that a writers life was a lonely one. I invisioned myself closed in a room and seated at a desk typing away book after book. Yes, that did sound lonely. And quite unappealing, I might add.

Being a people person, I knew that isolated writing would never be for me and that rather I could take it with me wherever I went. This week I’ve been indulging in feeding that side of me that loves people and was reminded that I can be both — a writer and a socialite. The past four nights I’ve spent with three important families in my life. Each set of parents are good friends, and the six kids amazed me again with their generous love and laughter. At a time when I find myself wanting to go father and farther away from San Francisco to deepen my commitment to developing the writing craft, I found this weekend important in taking a time out to appreciate the loved ones in my life. My extended family will always be here for me no matter how far I roam, but in keeping the love in my life I’ll be able to go farther and into temporary periods of isolation knowing that I can come back to a life full of friends.

I don’t think there have to be any extremes in writing, or building a writers life. Yes, dedication and obsession will get you to your goals faster. But if you want both sides of the coin like me, you can have that too. Why not? What do you want? Once you know, just go get it. With the right attitude, sometimes it’s just that easy.


  1. People always say my writing is more energized when I’m on the road and I think the interaction with people is the key. Well, not just that, as the travel itself plays a part, I’m sure. But the months of hibernation in front of a computer that occur between trips definitely weigh me down emotionally. I think you’ve hit on some extremely valuable insights here.

  2. Yes Rabbit, finding what energizes us is the key to fresh writing. Have you ever talked to someone who seemed boring, but then continuing on in conversation found what excites them? Suddenly the once boring person transforms into someone completely new and different. Knowing what excites us is key. If for you it is being on the road, use that. Put all that you encounter and discover in your journals and remember the energy you had when you were first experiencing it. Then what comes from the keyboard at home will exude what was felt on the road. We can learn a lot from books – style, technique, history, place – but the energy we pick up from people, even watching strangers in a crowd, is irreplaceable.

  3. One’s personality plays a huge role in any passionate endeavor. Is there one way of doing anything? And that’s the beauty!

    So, Jen, if being out there is what turns you on, that’s what you do. Just hold on to that energy when you’re at the keyboard, and make your words sing, as you surely can do.

    You are fortunate having not one, but three loving families. And so are they.

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